It amazes me how easy it is for us to get focused on the wrong things. We’ll be on track, focused on God, focused on the right things and life is good. Then a shiny object is dangled in front of us and, in the blink of an eye, we’re veering quickly off course chasing the shiny object once again. It could be relationships, addiction, success, pleasure, or a hundred other things—but there’s always an opportunity for distraction.
I rarely go onto social media because I know how detrimental it can be for my mental and emotional health. I cut out social media for many months, but I’ve started visiting the various sites with increased frequency in the last month or so. And I honestly thought that I would be fine. After all, I was using it mostly for business, so that would be okay, right?
I found that the more I’ve visited the apps and sites, the more my priorities shifted. I would look at the influencers and brand ambassadors and entrepreneurs that I follow or like and feel nothing but deficient. Their success shined a light on everything that I lack and all that I am doing wrong. And I’ve found myself growing jealous and competitive. I want to be like them. I want to have many thousands or even millions of followers. I want to be able to make a good living off of the things that I create and be able to serve a wide range of people.
But then I realized a flaw in my logic. I have been mistaking fame for influence.
The more I’ve thought about this, the more that I’ve realized that I don’t want to be famous. I don’t want to be a household name and I don’t want to have millions of people following me. I want the right people to be in my life so I can encourage, challenge, and uplift strategically. It’s not about the quantity of connections but the quality of relationships. Influence is relational, fame is transactional.
I’ve made the mistake of thinking that because I don’t have a large online footprint that I’m not influential, but that’s simply not true. I look at the coworker who I influence daily and the noticeable difference in her countenance when I’m having a bad day. I look at how the atmosphere of a room can change when I walk into it. I look at the reviews that people have left on the things I’ve written and how my words have encouraged and influenced them.
I am influential though the majority of the world doesn’t know my name.
And I would imagine that the majority of us are that way. Each of us impacts the world around us, though it’s easy to forget that fact in the comparison trap of social media. The truth is that wherever we go, we can change the atmosphere around us. We can bring light to darkness and hope to despair. We can give grace when judgment is easier and help when others turn a blind eye. We don’t need millions or even thousands of followers in order to show Jesus to the world—we just need to be us and let his goodness flow through us.
Who are you influencing?
And how can you be intentional with that influence this week?